Share Seeds, Plan Your Garden at the Seed Swaps

more shoppers 2017 swap

There will be plenty of beans and brassicas at the upcoming Seed Swap in Northwest Seattle. The King County Seed Lending Library also has seeds for salad greens and herbs and over 30 other vegetables.

But perhaps the most interesting edibles will be what’s not yet there. Gardeners seem to jump on the seeds brought in by their fellow seed-savers – so be sure to bring yours!

The KCSLL’s annual seed exchange for Northwest Seattle is coming Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Phinney Center. The Snoqualmie Valley Seed Exchange is also set for Feb. 2 in Duvall, and swaps are planned for Northeast Seattle on Feb. 9 and West Seattle on Feb. 24. Details.

Learn while sharing seeds

At the Northwest Seattle swap, Tilth Alliance, P-Patch, Sustainable Ballard, Seattle Tree Fruit Society and the PNA Tool Lending Library will all have folks and information there. Short workshops will talk about seed saving and seed starting.

Attendees are urged to bring seeds to share, but it is not required. The swaps are free and open to all.

How to participate:

  • Share only seeds of edible plants that your fellow gardeners would grow from seed, such as annual vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.
  • If donating packaged seed, it should be organic or open-pollinated, plant types that will produce seed true to the stated variety. Heirlooms are by definition open-pollinated.
  • If donating home-saved seed, please winnow and clean it off the stems or stalks as much as possible and bring only the seed.
  • If you can’t clean it in advance, plan to spend some time cleaning it the swap. Some swaps will have screens and buckets available.
  • All shared seed should be fresh, within three years of purchase or saving.
  • Label all seed donations with seed type, variety if known, and year it was grown/saved.
  • Bring envelopes and a pen to store and label your new seeds.

About the KCSLL

The King County Seed Lending Library (www.kingcoseed.org) operates four branches around Seattle and one in the Snoqualmie Valley. Each take seed donations and offer small quantities of seeds year round to local gardeners.

Share, Learn, Grow at Our Seed Swaps

Sprout some new ideas for your edible garden in January! Come to the annual Seed Swaps presented by our King County Seed Lending Library branches.

Along with seeds of favorite vegetables, you will find enthusiastic fellow gardeners to share their best varieties. Many attendees at last year’s swap brought their own seeds.

Seed Swaps will be Saturday, Feb. 2 in Northwest Seattle and Snoqualmie Valley, and Saturday, Feb. 9 in Northeast Seattle and Feb. 24 in West Seattle. (See details on our Events page.)

shoppers 2017 swap

At the swap, stick around to learn about both ends of the gardening year. There will be short workshops on seed starting and seed saving. If you save your own, you can make a deposit to the library’s seed bank at next year’s swap.

Bring your edible garden seed to share. It can be commercial or home-grown seed, but please follow these guidelines:

  • Share only seeds of edible plants that your fellow gardeners would grow from seed, such as annual vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.
  • If donating packaged seed, it should be organic or open-pollinated or heirloom.
  • If donating home-saved seed, please clean it off the stems or stalks and bring only the seed.
  • You can clean your seed at the swap. We will have screens and buckets available.
  • All shared seed should be fresh, within three years of purchase or saving.
  • Please label all donations with seed type, variety if known, and year it was grown/saved.

The Seed Swaps are free and open to all; bringing seed is not required.

The King County Seed Lending Library has five locations around the county, all operated by volunteers and supported solely by donations.

Seed donation

Give Back at Seed Homecoming Oct. 6

Are you saving seed from a crop you loved? Share it with us at our annual Seed Homecoming on Friday, October 6!

chard seed
Seed of Rainbow Chard being winnowed.

Perhaps you grew out a plant from a variety you got at our Seed Swap in January, or just have lots of leftover seed from your gardening purchases this year.

You can share seed and help others grow a garden by bringing your extra supply to our table at the Phinney Farmers Market in Northwest Seattle. The King County Seed Lending Library will be accepting seed from 4 to 7 p.m.

Our Seed Homecoming marks the end of the traditional growing season, when gardeners are getting ready to put their gardens to bed.

Seed sharing at the farmers market
KCSLL Coordinator Bill Thorness shares seeds with a farmers market attendee. Photo by Lee Harper.

Combat the Popularity Contest

Saving seed is a vital step in keeping alive our most-beloved or possibly rare varieties of edible plants.

In a marketplace ruled by popularity, where only the best-selling varieties are propogated, the future diversity of our gardens may depend on our tenacity in keeping alive a wide selection of cultivars.

What Seeds We’re Seeking

The King County Seed Lending Library, now with five branches, has the capacity to store and distribute a lot of seed, but we focus on particular types of seed.

  • Please donate only seeds of edible plants that your fellow gardeners would grow from seed, such as annual vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.seed in jars
  • If donating packaged seed, it should be organic or open-pollinated, plant types that will produce seed true to the stated variety.
  • If donating home-saved seed, please winnow and clean it off the stems or stalks as much as possible and bring only the seed.
  • If you can’t clean it in advance, plan to spend some time cleaning it at our booth. We will have screens and buckets available.
  • All donated seed should be fresh, within three years of purchase or saving.
  • Please label all donations with seed type, variety if known, and year it was grown/saved.

Bonus: This year, thanks to a donation from our friends at the Seattle Farm Co-op, we will be giving away a small amount of mixed cover crop seed to anyone who brings seed for donation (or to anyone who stops at the booth, if we have enough to share). This is the perfect time to plant a cover crop to help enrich your soil on empty garden beds over the winter.

Attend OSA’s Community Field Day on Sept. 25

The Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) will host its annual community field day  and variety tasting on September 25th from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Chimacum, Washington. All are invited to join in the celebration, taste new varieties of organic produce, and learn about OSA’s cutting-edge research in the field. In addition to the variety tasting, local chefs will serve appetizers that showcase the culinary potential of what’s growing in local trials. 

OSA is a local nonprofit with a national reach. It is known for its leadership in organic seed research, education, and advocacy, and participates in collaborative research with farmers, universities, and seed companies from coast to coast. The September gathering celebrates the third annual harvest at OSA’s Washington research farm, which serves as the hub of its Pacific Northwest organic plant breeding, seed education, and variety trial projects. The event also allows OSA to thank its strong and growing community of friends in the region and beyond.

The field tour will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. with the variety tasting and chef showcase following from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. OSA’s research farm is part of the Chimacum Farm Collaborative located at the Finnriver Orchard and Cidery, which will be open for no-host tastings and purchases.

The event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are encouraged but not required. RSVP today at seedalliance.org/events.

The Finnriver Orchard and Cidery is located at 124 Center Road, Chimacum, Washington, 98325.